The Senate has passed President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, and not one Republican voted in favor. What a shock. Instead of voting for relief for the American people, Republicans would rather spread lies. According to Business Insider, Ted Cruz claims that “illegal aliens” will receive stimulus checks. Dick Durbin quickly shot him down with the truth: “The statement of the senator from Texas is. Just. Plain. False.” As Durbin accurately pointed out, undocumented people do not have social security numbers and accordingly cannot receive stimulus checks. Durbin said, “And just in case you didn’t notice, they didn’t qualify in December, when 92 of us voted for that measure.” If Republicans spent half the time and effort on trying to help the American people that they do spreading disinformation, they might be worth having in Congress, but they do not and they are not. Perhaps they just cannot handle the good news for both the American people and President Joe Biden, who will sign into law his first major piece of legislation.
Just as President Biden promised, help is on the way. The plan not only includes stimulus checks for Americans, but it is specifically directed at helping people at every level. In addition to the direct payments of $1,400 to Americans earning under $80,000, the bill includes aid to state and local governments, the unemployed, veterans, restaurants/bars, renters/homeowners, FEMA, farmers/small businesses, vaccines/ healthcare, reopening schools, and tax credits/aid/childcare for families. Additional funds will go to infrastructure. According to Washington Post, fed chair Jerome Powell labeled vaccines as “most important,” and as of last Thursday, President Biden reached the 50 million mark with vaccines, well on his way to the 100 million vaccines he pledged to reach in his first 100 days. Unlike the Republican stimulus passed in December, there is little or no “pork” in this bill. Every penny will aid struggling Americans. Yet, Republicans all voted against it. We are not sure who Republicans care about, but it certainly is not the American people.
The Washington Post reported that Democrats remember what happened the last time they bent over backwards to get Republicans on board during the 2009 and 2010 economic crisis. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer recalled that time in his interview: “What happened in 2009 and ’10 is, we tried to work with the Republicans, the package ended up being much too small, and the recession lasted for five years. People got sour; we lost the election.” Democrats learned their lesson and sought to ensure that the American people would be happy with this bill.
A Public Policy Polling survey revealed that 77% of voters support the healthcare provisions of the bill (including 56% of Trump voters and 58% Republicans overall); 74% support relief checks (52% of Trump voters and 61% Republicans); 72% support capping insurance premiums (only 11% opposition); and 71% support funding to increase vaccine distribution and COVID testing (51% Republicans and 72% people over 65). When they get another opportunity, Republicans would be smart to go along with their constituencies. Otherwise, they may find themselves out of a job.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years